The Treachery of Collections: Regent Parrot, Polytelis anthopoplus monarchoides

Click to enlarge artwork.

The Treachery of Collections: Regent Parrot, Polytelis anthopoplus monarchoides



synthetic polymer on 200gsm Pattern making paper, laminated on shaped birch ply
52cm h x 45cm w framed

The ‘Treachery of Collections/Preserved’ series presents specimens of particular environmental significance with a nod to Rene Magritte’s famous ‘This is not a Pipe’ painting. Interrogating the conventional assumptions attached to the concept of preservation as it relates to the current survival status of the Regent Parrots, and the actuality of the ecosystems they depend on, this piece asks us to examine the cost of failure to preserve the rich diversity of living creatures that populate our natural environment and the risk we might impoverish ourselves in every conceivable way, forever diminishing the beauty of our natural world.

Taxidermy is a centuries old practice, with many Australian museum specimens dating back to Cook’s first visit to the continent in 1770. These specimens were thus the first Australian species to be preserved in both physical form and recorded as detailed biological illustrations.  Both methods capture important information about the living creature, and have the convenience of static objectification, easy access, and the capacity to outlive the brief, bright, private lives of the birds themselves.  Have the Eastern Regent Parrots (P.anthopoplus monarchoides), one of many species notably in decline, been preserved in any real sense?  The eastern population, with 1200 breeding pairs last estimated in 2011, is listed as endangered in NSW, and internationally by the IUCN.

I prefer to work on paper, rather than canvas or directly onto the wood, because it gives the smoothest texture that most accurately captures the cardboard boxes I am describing in this series.  I have developed this technique over the past few years, to facilitate a sound structural support for the paper and my working technique.

For more information on this artwork email

Price: $5236
20% commission of artworks goes to the WAMA Foundation.

Share This Artwork